The poet Philip Levine (1928-2015) once said, “I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it’s the home of the extraordinary, the only home.” That sentiment perfectly applies to the work of Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjork (1956- 2015).
Tunbjork specialized in photographing the ordinary, the everyday, the mundane. His brilliance lay in his photographing those scenes in ways that made us reconsider them and see them in new, fresh ways.
Here is his take on the modern office:
And his observations on people in a variety of settings:
You have been on my mind a lot since you passed away two weeks ago. Not that you have ever been off my radar, but the event of your death has caused me to ask myself why I will miss you so much, now that you are gone. The author and journalist Charles Shaar Murray was quoted in the obituary that The Economist ran in its January 14, 2016 issue as saying: “I can think of no other rock artist whose next album is always the one I’m most looking forward to hearing.”
And that sums it up in a nutshell for me. You were predictable in your unpredictability. I never quite knew what you would do next, and that sense of anticipation- of not knowing what was around the corner- was exhilarating. Whether it was in the music itself or the way you dressed and presented yourself to the world, there was always a feeling that you had discovered something before the rest of us and encouraged us to explore it, too.
Even your voice was unpredictable. It was unexpectedly powerful, yet it would quaver. As a friend of mine so brilliantly put it, your voice was “so striking because of the contrasting qualities of fierce self-assurance and bristling vulnerability.” I sometimes would think that it wasn’t quite in tune, but then it was. Where would it go next? I loved that I never quite knew the answer to that.
You were an artist who epitomized the idea that the best of art is based on a substantial foundation of knowledge and experience that is invisible to the rest of us, but which is necessary to produce your work. Always seeking, always curious, always telling us that it is normal to be different.
I will really miss you, Mr. Bowie. I’m so glad that you spent as much time as you did on earth.
The Sunday New York Times Magazine recently published an interview with the British actor Charlotte Rampling, whose heyday was in the 1960’s and 70’s. While never completely off the radar, she has a powerful new film out titled “45 Years” that is bringing her a lot of attention. Now 69, she speaks in the article about what it is like to be the center of attention as an older actor, the nature of her career, and the choices she has made over the years.
Here is what she said that hit home for me in particular:
“I wanted to make my life, not a work of art – I didn’t think of it that way – but I wanted to create a visible continuity in what I did. I wanted there to be a thread I could follow and other people could follow.”
That is exactly how I see my own creative choices when I look back over the course of my career. Without consciously having intended to create it, there is an arc of continuity throughout my work that ties it all together. The various series that I am working on now really point this out. My goal is to have some of this new work out in the world in some form by summer.